Larry Austin Jr has revealed home is where the heart is after finally sealing his dream move to Tyneside.

The US star was talked about as a possible signing 12 months ago only to return to Cheshire Phoenix ahead of the 2022/23 season.

But Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles made Austin Jr a top priority this summer and the all-action guard looks ready made for the men in black.

“The club reached out to me last year but for whatever reason it didn’t happen and I enjoyed a fantastic season with Will Neighbour and the Phoenix,” said the 27-year-old.

“But Newcastle is the winningest franchise in British basketball, the arena sells out week-in, week-out and we have the chance to play in Europe.

The former Cheshire Phoenix player and his teammates’ experience in the British Basketball League will be key when they face Caledonia Gladiators on Sunday. (Photos: Gary Forster)

“It’s an amazing opportunity for all of us. There are a lot of good things happening with the Eagles right now and it feels great to be here.

“I always loved playing at the Vertu Motors Arena as an opposition player and I remember feeling so disappointed when I missed a game up here with Cheshire.

“The atmosphere is electric and everything that the fans bring to the table makes it a very special place to play.

“It’s a huge advantage for us and I can’t wait to get that first competitive game under my belt as a Newcastle player.

“It’s a blessing to be here.”

Austin Jr put a pacy USA Select side to the sword on Tuesday night as he added eight steals, seven assists and six rebounds to his game high 29 points.

The hosts completed a regulation 125-72 win against the touring Americans to maintain a 100 percent pre-season record.

It was tip-off in the full arena for the first time in pre-season as the British Basketball League rehearsed their new live game night broadcast operations. (Photos: Gary Forster)

And although Sunday’s friendly against border rivals Caledonia Gladiators will provide a truer test of Marc Steutel’s new-look roster, Austin Jr is confident the good times will continue to roll.

“We’re a new team but a lot of us have been in and around the league for some time,” he added.

“We know each other even though we haven’t played together before.

“That familiarity has helped and heading into our third week as a team we’re really starting to gel and feel some chemistry.

“We feel like we’re in a good spot and we’re working hard to get better as a group day by day.

“We’re starting to understand our strengths as individuals and as a team.”

Five Newcastle stars hit double figures against USA Select with Jordan Johnson (24 points and eight assists) and Tajh Green (18 points and five rebounds) pushing Austin Jr all the way for the MVP honours.

But a feisty second quarter clearly irked Steutel as the strongarm visitors sought to get a foothold in an increasingly physical game.

Both Green and Darius Defoe suffered heavy falls before the break and although the former returned to action, the league’s most decorated player was limited to just eight minutes.

Defoe limped off with an injury to his left ankle and is one of four players facing a late fitness test ahead of the Gladiators clash.

Devin Whitfield, Scott Spencer and Sam Mamuini all missed Tuesday’s exhibition game but Steutel said: “They’ve got a chance for the weekend. We’ll wait and see.”

A one-sided affair against Andrea Stinson’s young hopefuls doubled up as an opportunity for British Basketball League bosses to test their new broadcast arm.

Television time-outs and in-game interviews on the big screen were features trialled on Tyneside with former Eagles favourite Drew Lasker conducting the courtside chats.

Tickets for Sunday’s clash against Caledonia with a 5:30pm tip are still available from the box office.